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Hagerty Employee

How to run 9-second quarter-miles in a stock-appearing '69 Camaro ZL1

For years I walked through hundreds of car events and heard stories swapped between muscle-car veterans about so-and-so's Camaro that "used to pull the front wheels on the street" or a car that was "so fast you couldn't grab a dollar off the dash when I was accelerating."

The greatest secret to good times is suspension tuning to get the car to hook up. Many people can never get a car too hook up. This does not always require large tires.

Also I know some folks who do some racing and their are not always stock.

I had a buddy teach me years ago how to do this. His Duster has the right springs and slightly altered wheel base. It had M&H tires and center lines. Other than that it looked stock right to the orange valve covers. He also had some work in the converter and gear. But the trick was he would launch and the car would bite. It would chirp 2nd gear. He never raced it at the track but won many a street fight. I later sold it and the guy who bought it ran at the track and tuned a 9 sec run and then promptly was given a list of mods he needed to come back. Keep in mind this car had no cage, safety loop or harnesses. I was show room like accept for the wheels and tires.

Anyone can do 12 but to go faster you need to start looing to get the car to bite down and go.

Pit Crew

Back in the day this Camaro would have been called a sleeper. Enjoyed the article and the YouTube video. Inspiring me to get to work on my 64 Nova and create a Day2.
Intermediate Driver

Totally believable.
Intermediate Driver

Totally believable. Until October 31 past year, I had a Supra MK4, full body 295 CUP2's on the rear. The RWHP was 768 and 726 pound feet. It did 9.98 @143 mph in the 1/4.
What a car !

I can't argue it's not impressive but what he's done is clone one of the most legendary (not to mention rare) performers ever offered and throw everything he can conceal at it.

I don’t understand your choice of the word “but”. Is the fact it’s patterned on a a COPO 9560 somehow offensive to you? I doubt any of the original 69 1969 ZL1 Camaros are being raced on in anger these days, so it would be a helluva treat to see this car race. I, for one, have never looked for a VIN tag on a race car.

I believe he was just indicating that it's not really a "secret recipe", that's all. The timing delay and however the engine is built (in particular the cam choice) means a lot. Supposed to be stock displacement, but I would think a slight overbore for wear (like 0.030" or even 0.060") is allowed. Small overbores don't add enough power to be a concern. Even on a big block 0.060" over only adds a couple inches at most.

Displacement is up allowed up to 560ci, except the Ford 385 series which allows up to a 620ci displacement. 
Running 9s on stock width bias-ply tires is incredible; there is no “but he just” anything.  It’s an impressive feat that I doubt many readers here, yours truly included, can pull off. 


That Camaro is the definition of sleeper. it looks the part but it's a deadly fast beast. Love it!
Intermediate Driver

Unreal for a camaro with skinny tires to get into the nines , what rear end ? 488 512 ? It has to be the rear end ratio .I'm not knocking it . I think this is great !

I think the aluminum race 427 has more to do with its ET. With the tires that thin, I would think they’d run a taller gear ratio to be able to hook, something in the 3.5s range.

I don't get it. Who is this camaro "hiding" from? It certainly isn't fooling anybody at the drag strip.....
Advanced Driver

What don't you get? Under the FAST Series rules, this team is simply doing what all teams are trying to do, only better. There's no subterfuge in their approach. All their tweaks are exposed, except the engine internals. If it passes FAST inspection, well, there it is.

At 4:39 into the video, he says that the engine displaces 560 cubic inches. 


The superior tuners of the 60's and 70's always outperformed the competition in similar cars on the street. Reference Royal Pontiac. Their Bobcat package (short of subbing a 389 for a 421) was more tuning the stock engines/powertrain to run superior to an out the door factory GTO. Also, the one that I remember is Muscle Car Review ran a stock 70 GS455 Stage1 vs 70 426 Street HEMI. One might think that HEMI would clean house. BUT, he had his butt kicked multiple times by a guy who knew how to tweak his HEMI killing GS!!!

I race in both the F.A.S.T. and Pure Stock classes and to a man each of these guys is a class act! Are they competitive, sure, do they have their tricks, absolutely, but if you need a tool, some transmission fluid or left your cooler at home, you don't even have to ask. The ZL1 isn't the only car running 9's there are several that have done it, each guy smarter and more talented than the next. My 71 GT37 is built to Pure Stock rules so I'm stuck in the low 13's. I can't run with the big dogs, but it's still a great time - and the only place you'll see cars that could win just about any show racing!
New Driver

I was going to also mention that there were about a dozen or so cars now running in the 9s in F.A.S.T., including a few Mopars and Corvettes. The one that still impresses me the most is the '71 Duster 340 that's running low 10s! Those F.A.S.T. guys are a different breed, for sure.
That said, your GT37 is mighty impressive and kudos to you for running such a unique sleeper in Pure Stock. Low 13s is impressive, for sure!
Intermediate Driver

Thank God its not a HotRod Project X EV conversion. Love this Camaro.
Intermediate Driver

Pretty clear with the timing retard and an ECU there is a lot going on. I wonder how stock displacement per the rules can equate to the 560 cubes stated in the video.
Clearly impressive anyways, it has lots of power and gets it to the ground extremely well.

I’ll have to look for a FAST event this summer.
Intermediate Driver

The Big 3 important things in drag racing: good power, good hook up, good driver...and not necessarily in that order. This car has all three.


"Jumpin Joe Babcock" [Denver '70's]
was pulling '9s'
this isn't that special


He’s running 9s on old school bias ply street tires. That’s impressive.
No wheel tubs, no slicks, no forced induction. Just displacement and driver skill. That’s impressive.